This rivalry is a beautiful thing

I may never forget the moment I saw T.J. Houshmandzadeh haul in the game-winning TD pass with 32 seconds left to beat the Steelers - and that was just a week four game.

That TD grab marked the first time in the Flacco/Harbaugh era that the Ravens have won in Heinz Field. Wouldn’t mind seeing a few more of them in my lifetime.

“I’d be lying if I told you this was just another game,” said Terrell Suggs on the rivalry. “This is the game on the schedule that we circle. This one has a little more importance than any other division game. Maybe because we don’t like these guys. We respect them but don’t like them. Maybe because the teams are so similar, especially in style of play. And it’s just for bragging rights.”

Since 2003, 10 of these Ravens/Steelers games have been decided by a touchdown or less and like Suggs said they are very similar teams. This season in particular, the Ravens and Steelers may be as close statistically as they have ever been in the past.

Lets go to the numbers:
Ravens - 8-3
Steelers - 8-3

Points Scored:
Ravens - 250
Steelers - 254

TD’s Scored:
Ravens - 28
Steelers - 28

Points Against:
Ravens - 188 (18 TD’s allowed)
Steelers - 181 (17 TD’s allowed)

Passing TD’s Allowed:
Ravens - 13
Steelers - 12

Time of Possession Avg:
Ravens - 31:31
Steelers - 31:05

Most are under the impression that the Steelers have one of the best defenses in the league. As I looked through all the numbers from this season the two defenses are very similar by the numbers. But, the Ravens know what they’re going to get with the defense.

It’s the Steelers offense that should scare the Ravens.

It seems like every time the Ravens have Big Ben on the ropes he finds a way to turn it into a big play. That can’t happen if the Ravens want to win; they need to bury Ben, early and often. The Ravens need to keep their offense on the field as much as possible and let Big Ben spend most of the game on the sidelines.

I know the Ravens are giving out Rally Towels and I cant say I’m too happy about it. That’s a Pittsburgh thing and I don’t feel comfortable waving a towel, whether it be purple or not. With that being said, it will probably look pretty cool on national television. Also, the forecast is calling for temperatures in upper 30’s at game time. I found this stat in the media guide that since 2000, the Ravens have won nine consecutive home games when it’s 40 degrees or less at kickoff.

With all the stats above, from the past I’ve learned that when these two teams meet you can pretty much throw stats out the window. No matter where the teams rank it’s going to be a battle.

“Pick any adjective: nasty, spiteful, hateful -- they all apply,” said the Associated Press’ Alan Robinson. “With apologies to the Packers/Bears, Cowboys/Redskins and Giants/Eagles, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin calls it the NFL’s best rivalry.”

It’s really hard to disagree.